Freedom of Speech in Saudi Arabia
Raif bin Muhammad Badawi (Arabic: رائف بن محمد بدوي, also transcribed Raef bin Mohammed Badawi; born 13 January 1984) is a Saudi writer, dissident and activist, as well as the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.
Badawi was arrested in 2012 on a charge of “insulting Islam through electronic channels” and brought to court on several charges, including apostasy. In 2013 he was convicted on several charges and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. In 2014 his sentence was increased to 10 years in prison, 1000 lashes, and a fine. The flogging was to be carried out over 20 weeks. The first 50 lashes were administered on 9 January 2015. The second flogging has been postponed more than twelve times. The reason for the most recent postponement is unknown, but the previous scheduled floggings were delayed due to Badawi’s poor health. Badawi is known to have hypertension, and his health has worsened since the flogging began.His wife, Ensaf Haidar, who took refuge in Canada after her life was threatened in Saudi Arabia, has said Badawi will not be able to survive further flogging. Ensaf Haidar has given a series of televised interviews about Badawi’s plight, including at the 2016 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights acts as Badawi’s international legal counsel. The organization has led both public advocacy campaigns as well as private diplomatic efforts to help secure Badawi’s release from prison.
While his exact location is unknown, it has been reported that Badawi is currently imprisoned in Dhahban Central Prison.
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